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A vibrant squash and red pepper risotto - comforting and tasty but irresistibly low in fat.
This squash and red pepper risotto recipe is perfect for when you’re following a January healthy eating plan. It's low in fat, but still feels like a treat on a dark winter evening. The mellow vegetable flavours and the creamy, gloopy rice make it one of our go-to low calorie meals (opens in new tab). Risotto does take a little bit of care. You need to stir it regularly to get an even texture and prevent it sticking to the pan. However, we find the repetition of adding the liquid and stirring, while standing over the warm stove as the beautiful fragrance fills the air, to be a joyful way to cook. Plus, with only five ingredients, it's really easy to prepare and put together.
- 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 250g (8oz) risotto rice
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks (or 900g/2lb prepared squash)
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
- 45g (1½oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat a large pan containing 1tbsp olive oil and the onion, and cook for 5 mins until the onion softens. Add the rice, stir well for a minute, then add 600ml (1 pint) hot water and the chunks of butternut squash.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, over a medium heat, until liquid is almost absorbed, about 10 mins. Add another 300ml (½ pint) hot water and the red pepper strips, and cook for about 15 mins until the squash is tender. Add more hot water if needed. Leave the risotto to rest for a few mins.
- Stir in half the cheese, season well, then serve with the rest of the Parmesan and drizzle with extra olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Top tips for making squash and red pepper risotto
Add extra flavour by frying a garlic clove or two along with the onion, half a glass of white wine before the water, or a vegetable or chicken stock cube to the hot water. If you want more veggies in there, toss a handful of frozen peas in towards the end of the cooking time.
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